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How to Deduct an Alimony Payment

If you are paying alimony, you can deduct this expense from your gross income in order to lower your taxable income and therefore reduce your taxes to a more affordable rate. If you have divorced and are now going to be paying these regular, monthly installments to a spouse, then you should deduct the expense from your taxes in order to limit the amount that you have to pay. In order to do this you will want to verify that you will not be filing a joint tax return with the recipient of the alimony. You will also want to verify that you are not maintaining a joint household with the recipient of the alimony. Whenever you divorce, chances are that either you or your spouse will move out of the household that you shared and start a new household on your own.

You will only want to include your payments of money on the tax return. This means any cash, checks, or money orders that you have directed towards the alimony recipient to fulfill court orders. Do not include property or goods that you purchased for that person. Any money that is paid to a third party on behalf of the recipient can also be included when you calculate your alimony payments. Payments that are considered child support typically don’t count as alimony. In fact, if you choose to include child support in your alimony payments, the IRS will probably detect the crime. They are on the lookout for people who disguise their child support as alimony because this illegal move is so common.

You should exclude payments for the use of property or maintenance of property if you still have ownership of that property. You will want to calculate all money payments that are legitimately alimony and write the total on the line for alimony in the adjustment section of your 1040 form. Remember that alimony is not payments that have to do with your child. Confusing child support with spousal support could get you into trouble with the IRS. If you and your spouse are not legally separated, but you are paying alimony to him or her, then you will want a written agreement that proves why you are paying the alimony expenses.

If you are living with a spouse but paying alimony, then you can claim one-half of all mortgage payments on a jointly owned home as alimony if you are the one paying the entire sum for the mortgage. This is also true with real estate taxes and insurance. If you have a divorce or separation decree that was executed before 1985, then you can claim all property transfers as alimony payments as well. If your ex-spouse dies, alimony payments cease. If you attempt to still include these payments on your tax forms, the IRS can get involved. Contact a family law attorney if you have more questions about how a divorce will affect your taxes!